Windows 11 has gone from abstract concept to official announcement in a matter of weeks, and now you can try out the new operating system for yourself.
Just four days after Windows 11’s big reveal, Microsoft released the first public beta (or Insider Preview, as it calls it) to members of the Windows Insider Program. This testing period provides a crucial opportunity for the company to fine-tune the Windows 11 experience following user feedback, ahead of the expected full rollout in October.
The Windows Insider Program is open to everyone with a Windows PC and a Microsoft account, meaning you can try Windows 11 for yourself right now. However, this is an early build – some features may be missing, and bugs are likely. As such, we wouldn’t recommend installing it on your main PC.
However, if you have a spare device available, it’s a great chance to try out Windows 11 ahead of time. Without further ado, here's how to download the Windows 11 beta now.
Check your PC meets the hardware requirements
There’s no point following all these steps if your PC won’t ultimately be eligible for the free Windows 11 upgrade. The easiest way to find out is by downloading Microsoft’s official PC Health Check app. It's no longer available to download from the main Windows 11 page, but the same link works.
This will tell you immediately if your device meets the system requirements.
However, if you get a message saying ‘This PC can’t run Windows 11’, don’t rule out your chances. A reason should be provided in the pop-up window – if ‘TPM’ or ‘Secure Boot’ are mentioned, these may just need enabling in the BIOS settings of your PC.
Learn more and see a full list of hardware requirements in our separate article: Will my PC run Windows 11?
How to get the Windows 11 beta: Join the Windows Insider Program
The Windows Insider Program (or Programme as it’s known in the UK) is the only way to get access to this early Windows 11 build. Provided you’ve got an active Microsoft account, signing up couldn’t be easier:
- On your Windows 10 PC, open Settings
- Head to Update & Security and choose ‘Windows Insider Program’ from the left pane
- If you’re not already signed up, click the ‘Get Started’ button
- From the pop-up that appears, click ‘Link an account’
- Choose from an account that’s already signed in, or log in with new details
- On the next screen, make sure you choose the ‘Dev Channel’ - that’s the only way to get the Windows 11 beta right now
- Hit ‘Confirm’ on this screen and the next, which indicates you agree to the terms and conditions
- To complete signup, you’ll need to restart your PC. Choose whether to do that now or later
That’s the hard bit done – now you’ll just need to install the beta like you would any other update
How to install the Windows 11 beta: Download the update
Once you’re a member of the Insider Program, installing the Windows 11 beta couldn’t be easier:
- Head to Settings > Update & Security
- From the Windows Update tab, choose ‘Check for updates’
- After a few seconds, an update named ‘Windows 11 Insider Preview’ will automatically begin downloading
- Once it’s finished, you’ll be prompted to restart your PC. Click ‘Restart now’ to do it straight away
That’s it! Once your PC has installed the update, the Windows 11 beta will be ready to use. Don’t worry, all your apps and files will remain intact.
How to stop getting future Windows Insider builds
If you signed up to the Windows Insider Program just to get the Windows 11 beta, you probably won’t want every new release in the Dev Channel. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to turn them off straight away:
- From the new-look Windows 11 desktop, click the Settings cog icon in the middle of the taskbar
- This now automatically opens in System settings. From the left pane, choose ‘Windows Update’
- Click ‘Windows Insider Programme’ (or Program), one of the four main options on screen
- From the next screen, click ‘Stop getting preview builds’ and then ‘Unenroll this device immediately’.
For this option to work right now, you’ll need to clean install Windows 10 back on your PC. We’d recommend not doing this, so only download the Windows 11 beta if you know you’ll want to keep it.